Pope's butler leaked papers to shock 'corrupt' Church, prosecutor says
August 13th, 2012
05:48 AM ET

Pope's butler leaked papers to shock 'corrupt' Church, prosecutor says

By Richard Allen Greene and Hada Messia, CNN

Pope Benedict XVI's butler will be tried on an aggravated theft charge over the leaking of hundreds of secret papers from the pope's personal apartment to an Italian journalist, a Vatican spokesman said Monday.

The butler, Paolo Gabriele, acted out of a desire to combat "evil and corruption everywhere in the Church," according to a prosecutor in the case.

"I was certain that a shock ... would have been healthy to bring the church back onto the right track," the prosecutor, Nicola Piccardi, wrote in a report released Monday by the Vatican.

A second man, Vatican IT expert Claudio Sciarpelletti, will be charged with aiding Gabriele, according to the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman.

Sciarpelletti is not suspected of conspiring with Gabriele, merely assisting him, and is not under arrest, Lombardi said.

The investigation is continuing, said Lombardi, raising the possibility of more arrests.

The trials are not expected to start before September 20, Lombardi said.

Gabriele, one of the pope's closest personal assistants, was arrested in May on suspicion of passing the papers to an Italian journalist. He faces the possibility of one to six years behind bars, Lombardi said.

The scandal has rocked the Catholic Church hierarchy and could even affect who becomes the next pope.

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It could be an effort to unseat Benedict's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who will run the conclave to choose the next pope if he is in office when Benedict dies, according to the Rev. Thomas Reese, author of "Inside the Vatican."

Gabriele was held in a special Vatican cell for about a month and a half before being released to house arrest in July.

The Vatican said Gabriele cooperated with investigators and admits leaking the papers, which consisted of faxes, letters and memos, including some from a high-ranking church official expressing concerns about corruption within the Vatican.

The arrest followed a top-level Vatican investigation into how the private documents appeared in the best-selling book "Sua Santita" ("His Holiness") by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi.

The Vatican called the publication of his book "criminal" when it was released in Italian.

Copies of some documents used in the book were found in the butler's apartment, according to the judge's report released Monday.

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Gabriele was not paid for handing over the papers, according to the judge, Piero Antonio Bonnet.

Cardinal Julian Herranz got a "pontifical mandate" in April to uncover the source of hundreds of personal letters and confidential documents that made their way to Nuzzi.

Nuzzi would not confirm the identity of his sources, but he told CNN that his primary source - whom he referred to as "Maria" in his book - "risked life and limb" if ever found out.

The source worked inside the Vatican, according to Nuzzi, who refused to give other details such as the source's gender, age and if he or she was clergy.

Nuzzi's book highlights an internal power struggle within the Vatican through numerous documents, including faxes, personal letters and inter-Vatican memos. He told CNN that he received the documents during a year of private meetings in secret locations.

The Vatican has not denied the authenticity of the documents but instead says the breach of privacy is a criminal act.

–Journalist Barbie Nadeau in Rome contributed to this report.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • Scandal • Vatican

soundoff (654 Responses)
  1. NotAGrammarExpert

    Unless I missed a split in the Vatican Nation I believe the article should read "intra-Vatican memos" not "inter-Vatican memos".

    August 13, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  2. prophet

    and for all you athiests i have to say that statistically athiests eventually make some of the best believers in God

    August 13, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Timmy

      Well...yeah....since we're all born an atheist then you are right. Depends on how well your parents indoctrinate you.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • vancouverron

      Then what you say makes you a misinformed twit.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  3. Greg

    So, a lay person goes to trial, but the hundreds of priests that molest children are still protected by the Church and living on retirement provided by parishioner's weekly offerings. What is wrong with this picture? Bishops are you reading this?

    August 13, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Bob B

      I'm sure they are and don't care.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Timmy

      There's nothing more important to the church than money, power and following doctrine. Rape all the children you want but don't get caught and let it affect the bottom line.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • HollywoodPR

      Really, Greg? Well, we better hurry up and let the priests currently serving time in prison that they shouldn't be there!

      August 13, 2012 at 4:17 pm |

    The Glory of men will last only as long as they can keep it secret.Men betrayed their creator what more of fellow men.Keep the secret or disclose it,the certainty of jesus coming as chief judge is assured so more care.

    August 13, 2012 at 8:26 am |
  5. Little Tom

    Well I have heard enough, time to change my religion to the peaceful teachings of Allah

    August 13, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • vancouverron

      Why not the tooth fairy instead? That one seems the most benign of all mythical creatures.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • Canada

      So I hear you guys like to suk on the knob eh, Koksukkers.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Chad

      Allah and God are the same imaginary diety.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Mishy

      How about trying to just read the Bible on your own or taking a Bible study? Faith is not a religion, but a relationship with God. God wants you to follow the teachings of His Word, the Bible. I was raised a Catholic and know first-hand the corruption and greed that was going on behind closed doors. If you're truly a converted Christian, God starts to open your eyes/heart (through the Holy Spirit). Of course its good to be around like-minded believers, but you don't need to belong to a religion to get that.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  6. prophet

    and i still believe in God. i was also told by a clergy that not all catholic clergy believe in God if any at all.

    August 13, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Greg

      This is true. Many of them are there because it's an easy life (they don't really have to do anything) and they are too old to do anything else (and don't have the skills to move on). Plus, they don't really let you resign...even if you molest children. They put you on leave and still pay you.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Timmy

      Look up "the clergy project".

      August 13, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Sue

      I was once told by a member of the clergy that we all evolved from apes and the bible is only a book of myths. I can't believe anyone would admit to being a catholic. It is the most disgusting, filthy corrupt, organization on the face of the earth. They will soon get what's coming to them. Good riddance to them

      August 13, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • rocketscientist

      I'm Catholic, Sue. So was my mother, and her parents. My grandmother was the sweetest, nicest, most saintly woman I ever knew. I try to give everything I can afford to the power and to help others in need whenever I can. I had my twins, 16 months old now, baptized in the Catholic Church, since my wife (raised Mormon) and I were married there.

      I'm completely aware of the sins of the bishops in covering up for the pedophile priests and the corruption in the Vatican, which isn't a surprise at all. I'm very angry about the protection of the pedophile priests and am constantly dissapointed in by the Vatican's and the bishops response to it and other issues. That said, I'm a Christian who was born and raised in the Catholic Church. I feel comfortable worshiping there with my fellow Catholics, who aren't pedophiles, murderers, thieves, etc. Maybe I'll leave it someday for a Protestant church. I honestly don't blame anyone for leaving over the altar-boy scandal. But for now, I choose to remain with my fellow Catholics and the many innocent priests and nuns and hope and pray that good sense and a huge house-cleaning comes to the Vatican and the bishops (which probably never will).

      One thing I will never do, though, is to knock or say anything cruel or bigoted against a whole group of innocent people who are my neighbors and have never ever harmed or hurt me in any way. I wasn't brought up that way. I wish I could say the same for everyong else.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Anonymous

      Way to go rocketscientist! Couldn't have said it better myself! 🙂 I'm also Catholic and have every intention of raising my children in the Catholic Church.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  7. Puhleeeze

    Will the Vatican executioner gouge out the butlers eyes and burn him at the stake? Love that old time religion! Good for ratings.

    August 13, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Greg

      Very true. The Vatican is quick in this case to prosecute the Butler. But there are several "Cardinals" living and working in the Vatican who were Bishops and allowed the Child Molesters to be moved from parish to parish. They of course, face no criminal charges. They were moved to Rome to be protected.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  8. Jack Sulsona

    John-Paul II forgave the man who tried to kill him. Why doesn't this Pope show forgiveness for a lesser sin?

    August 13, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • gerald

      That man was in jail as this man should be if found guilty. He did not get out when JPII forgave him. Forgiveness does not mean removal of consequences.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Luca

      For the same reason Julian Assange of Wikileaks is wanted in the US: because some truths should "never" surface...

      August 13, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Canada

      JPII is – "when he comes, those who's name are not written in the book of life will be astonished, for he once was, now is not, and soon will be." he is the 8th false king and is of the 7 original kings, ever since the time this church became a Nation. the 7th king is to remain for only a short time.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:12 am |
  9. prophet

    but i have to tell you that the governments support these people, why do they do this.

    August 13, 2012 at 8:21 am |
  10. prophet

    i had the chance to take them to court when i was older but i chose to teach them and fogive them, thye have to face God one day. i used to be a nurse in palliative care and one of the other nurses told me that the most afraid person they ever saw who was ill was a catholic priest so they know who they are and what they do.

    August 13, 2012 at 8:18 am |
  11. hamradiosc

    My first response....this is what's wrong with the Catholic church and any other church that put's their so called leaders up on a pedestal. Stop worshiping man and worship God!

    August 13, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Greg

      In a sense, many Catholics worship Rome more than God. It's like Rome is an idol, or Fantasy Island.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Greg, I think you watch too much TV

      August 13, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  12. prophet

    i used to be a catholic and was raised by priests and they used to beat me once a week and their saiiva was dripping as they did it, what can be said about this.

    August 13, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Tebojockey

      Too bad they were unable to beat any sense into you.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • JR

      It could be said that you're full of s...

      August 13, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  13. Bob B

    It's to bad CNN couldn't tell us what the book had in it, guess they can't read Italian.

    August 13, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • layla

      They DID say what was it the book. Money laundering and corruption. Hey...you could always buy the book! There's a 'novel' idea.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Mary

      So quick to judge CNN, yet you can't type in proper English? "It's TOO bad"

      August 13, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Bob B

      layla The article said a high ranking church official expressing concern about corruption (what's new?) and highlights an internal power struggle within the Vatican. Didn't see anything about money laundering. Like I said, the article doesn't tell us anything good.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  14. collectivedementia

    Nothing worse than a leaking buttler.....

    August 13, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • Timmy

      Yes. Apparently not even the rape of children.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:13 am |
  15. orlop

    The Pope has a butler? I thought monks or somebody did that stuff.

    August 13, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • rats

      They did a lousy background check, guy was probably an ex-altar boy with bad memories or a lutheran still holding a grudge.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Go into any church, any denomination and you will find paid administrative help. The pope, as head of state of the largest Christian religion in the world, lives at the office so to speak. It isn't extreme for there to be staff. Monks live a different life altogether usually centered around solitude and prayer. You reveal your ignorance to suggest they be used as domestic service.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • gertrude

      Bill Deacon: Actually Jehovah's Witnesses have no paid administration.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  16. Ya'akov the Traditional Jew.

    "Criminal". I like that word. What was said? Has this come out in English or Spanish yet?

    August 13, 2012 at 8:07 am |
  17. Sadie Boyd

    Paolo Gabriele my new hero!

    August 13, 2012 at 8:05 am |
  18. Ya'akov the Traditional Jew.

    This is a scream. And what secrets does this book have that make it "criminal"? I have to read this!

    August 13, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      reading comprehension alert. The book doesn't contain crimes. It contains allegations. The method whereby the information was obtained is the crime. That's why the butler was indicated.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  19. Tutuvabene

    God's house has secrets? What kind of secrets could a church have? That nuns are taking oral contraceptive pills?

    August 13, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      If you participate in any organization that has more than a few people involved, there will be information that not everyone knows and that not everyone should know. The Catholic church has over 1 billion adherents. I suspect there are issues that are not made public and do not need to be made public.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Chad

      What secrets should a church keep Bill?

      August 13, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  20. Rudedog

    As a catholic, I'll have to say the church tarnished their own image a long time ago.
    I Can NOT argue with the negative comments against the church.

    August 13, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • Timmy

      How can you remain a Catholic and be aware of centuries of horrors committed by your church? Are you so indoctrinated and entrenched that you can't escape and think for yourself? Is it fear?

      August 13, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • gerald

      We are not in the Church because of the men in it. We are sinners ourselves. We are in it because of the God-man who founded it. To whom else do we have to go. By the way there isn't a religous or political insti.ution on earth made up of men that does not have scandal. Even pedophiles and murders. Not a single one. So what is your point?

      August 13, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Hellscreamgold

      @Timmy – Why are you a member of the human race after centuries of horrors the human race has done? are you so indoctrinated and entrenched that you can't escape and think for yourself? is it fear?

      Careful how you throw stones...

      August 13, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • VoiceOf Truth

      Imposters infiltrated the church long ago, but the true keepers of the faith remain, so direct negative comments at the imposters, not the church.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • VoiceOf Truth

      @Timmy: What horrors committed by the Church? Sounds like you believe anything the anti-Christian historians say about the church. The Church does not commit horrors. Only hellbent imposters trying to bring discredit to her.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Timmy

      Oh, I get it. So, your church is no different than any secular organization. Glad to see you admit it. It's not divine in any way so why revere it the way you do? If any other organization protected child rapists the way your church does they would feel the full force of the secular justice system. Why do you continue to support pedophiles? You all disgust me.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:41 am |
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